While Doctor Who is the type of show that checks all of my boxes, I’m quite behind in my TV show backlog. As someone who enjoys both television and gaming, I rarely have time for both in my daily life, and as you can imagine, gaming often wins.
Even so, I have seen my fair share of Doctor Who episodes, so when I had the opportunity to check out the new VR experience entitled Doctor Who: The Edge of Time, I was quite excited to see where this adventure would take me. In the end, though, is this something that both fans of the show and casual VR gamers can enjoy? Let’s find out.
A Captivating (And Short) Adventure
The one thing you’re going to see a lot of in your internet travels is that Doctor Who: The Edge of Time is shorter than I think most people expected. For me, length is important in games, but I also value the quality of the experience. Since I don’t do a lot of longform VR gaming either, extended stints in the headset can feel longer for me than they actually are.
I may be alone in this sensation, but I often find that an hour of gaming in VR feels a lot longer than an hour playing on the TV. It could be the extra attention it requires, or perhaps the additional immersion, but I’ve never really struggled with VR games that feel too short. Since I often play in short bursts, I tend to get my money’s worth out of them.
This is primarily because my youngest puppy, Clover, gets very concerned when I’m using VR, so I try to do it only when she’s sleeping. For review purposes, however, I would say that Doctor Who: The Edge of Time can take between 2-3 hours or so based on how quickly you solve puzzles and move through the environments.
Given the price point, I could see this being off-putting to those who are mildly curious in the universe. I think $10 to $15 would have been more palatable for this audience. That being said, as someone who is only a casual fan of the show, I feel like the authenticity here makes it an amazing experience for diehard fans.
The story starts out with an air of mystery and takes a little while to get going in my opinion. Once I got to the second major area, I found myself becoming more invested. It’s not until later in the game that you actually get a narrative explanation about what you’re dealing with.
On the one hand, this keeps the mystery alive, but I think the story could have benefited from more info in the first half about the greater threat. It’s engaging lore that really sets the stakes, and I think presenting it earlier would have gotten more emotional buy-in from players.
Your interactions are limited to the doctor herself and one other character who actively engages with you, but the story is largely linear for you and your character. It delves into some of the finer points of the show’s lore, and even features the weeping angels in one segment that had me white-knuckling my Move controllers.
Seriously, for not being a “horror” game in the traditional sense, Doctor Who on PSVR most certainly becomes a tense horror game for a portion of the experience. There are a few jump scares, but it’s the sheer tension that really got me. I had never felt so claustrophobic inside of my headset until that moment. I had to take my headphones off just to feel like I could breathe.
So, beyond a great horror segment, what does Doctor Who: The Edge of Time offer from the gameplay department? It’s largely a game about exploration and puzzle solving. A few of the early puzzles stopped me in my tracks, but the majority of challenges are fairly easy to overcome.
This is a double-edged sword because, on the one hand, it makes the game very approachable for fans of the show who don’t play a lot of VR games. On the other hand, it makes the game go by pretty quick for those who are both Doctor Who fans and hardcore gamers.
The variety in the puzzles and environments is very nice, though. I felt like there was a distinct theme to each area you visit, and the Tardis itself absolutely nails the “It’s bigger on the inside” feeling from the show.
I think Doctor Who: The Edge of Time would have been critically acclaimed if it had been released as an early VR title. Unfortunately, with the passage of time, VR games have gotten longer and more feature rich to the point where gamers often demand more bang for their buck.
This is a valid opinion, but I still think Doctor Who: The Edge of Time succeeds as a faithful adaptation of the show and its universe. I felt like I was truly a part of an episode, even if my face time with the doctor was less than I would have liked.
A Faithful Recreation of The Show’s World
Doctor Who: The Edge of Time is a VR game that looks incredible at certain times, and decidedly average in others. The unique locales and environments offer a wide range of visual treats inside the headset, but there were also times where I could easily spot blurry and immersion-breaking textures on walls or floors.
The highs really do make up for it though. The Tardis is lovingly crafted, and the puzzle that involves piloting it feels very tactile and insanely complex as the show insinuates. Combine this with a rousing orchestral soundtrack, and the game establishes a great atmosphere at the very least.
There were plenty of times during my adventure that Doctor Who: The Edge of Time captured that magical feeling of travelling across time and space to combat an existential threat, while also injecting a little bit of humor for good measure. It’s these moments that my inner Doctor Who fan absolutely loved the experience.
The variety makes this the VR equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet. Even if the meal ended sooner than I would have liked, there’s no denying the fact that it’s a tasty dish.
For fans of the show, I think you’ll find the value you’re looking for in the price point. Everyone else should check it out, but perhaps wait for a sale if the length concerns you. Me? I had a fun adventure full of intrigue, high stakes, and moments of existential terror. For me, that’s enough.
Final Score: 8.0/10
A copy of Doctor Who: The Edge of Time was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes.
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 11/25/19